Mother Bear & the 2 Faces of Men

(art: Cathy McClelland)

~In my dream, I return to my neighborhood in Virginia, bringing my sons along with me, to see the small rancher on the cul de sac in which I lived for a single year at the age of 7, an age where I’d lay down in the middle of the road and on the train tracks, a block away, to prove that I wasn’t afraid.

We were on our way to see the tracks when I stopped at the neighbor’s place around the corner.

Somehow I’m not surprised to find that their house, no longer a rancher, is twice as big, with wrap around porch and a wide staircase.

Sloan’s mother steps out the front door and greets us, without recognizing me at first, and when she does, she invites us up, and I too have trouble recognizing anyone–her son (who never existed), her husband, and Sloan, the younger sister of my friend Holly–except for their smiles–I remember their smiles; which I recognize even in the faces of the grown children of the children who had been my friends.

Holly died in labor, her mother tells me–she bled out; and then she confides that she was told to access the spirit realm to come to terms with her loss.

I nod in understanding, and she continues in hushed tones, not wanting her smiling son or her smiling husband (with the perfect smiling teeth, false ones I suppose) to overhear her talking about this “stuff,” because it angers them.

I wake this morning, wondering about this anomaly, about smiling men, like my own husband, and father and father in law (and even my sons), who respond with hostility at times about religion–against it.

What is it about the interface of spirit and body that creates such volatility in men–say at an abortion clinic, or with a tax law, or with planes–filled with loved one–flown into buildings filled with loved ones–all in the name of God–no matter his name–even electing a pedophile and an Assaulter in Chief to govern the very people who they abuse.

Why do those who neither conceive or birth or nourish, claim with one hand to be the protectors of life, while the other destroys life and the planet upon which it relies.

And perhaps more importantly, why, do we, the life bearers–those who are steeped in the mystery of spirit and flesh–allow it?

Where is our fierceness?
Why do we smile and whisper?
Where is Mother Bear!


Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.”

~Bertrand Russell


Perhaps as humans, our souls are steeped in abandonment having left Heaven for Earth. And perhaps it is also the deeper condition of womanhood throughout the Ages.  And then, the legacy of certain families, like mine, through time.

I ponder this as I fall to sleep in the afternoon sun, waking to my mother’s arms as she hands over the child she has borne.

Two decades later and my sister does the same.

Who is it that is abandoned?  The adopted child? Or the mother, childless now?

My walk with abandonment is distinct from theirs.  At 16, I abandon two pregnancies and approaching 30, two abandon me.

A long-awaited son, born Caesarean, is separated from me after birth.  That single hour– apart– is the longest I’ve ever ached for anything.

But it is only now, at 46, as I glimpse the playground of the Gods, that I realize how tightly I hold the hand of my Restraint, fearing the wild abandon.

I’ve bumped up against this fear before.  Each time my life begins to open.

This morning, as I walk in delight up the road toward my special space and loose my mind within the still waters there, I feel myself squeeze the hand of my Restraint.

Hold on, I chide. Hold on!

And so I ask, Why?  Why, in the depths of such GREAT JOY, do you pick up the hand of Restraint?

And I remember.  The moment.  The one after which I choose Safety over Play. Protection over Expansion. Caution over Delight.

It is my last FULL moment of Innocence.   About to be swept away by the first wave of… Death.


Strange that we, abandoned to Earth, hold to it so tightly that we miss the opportunity to have Heaven everywhere.

Kelly Salasin

(This is the first–in what is to become a series of pieces on “Lila“~the last excavation of pain from my life.  To see piece II, click here. )